J Street Loses

By Jeffrey Goldberg

It seems as if J Street, the liberal, ostensibly pro-Israel group, has lost the game it set out to play. I'm not referring here to its decision to take money from George Soros (which calls into question its pro-Israel bona fides, given Soros's barely-masked hostility to Zionism), and then lie about it (to The Atlantic, among others) or to its mysterious funding source in Hong Kong. I'll come back to that later. It has lost because it has failed to convince President Obama, and Congress, and most of organized American Jewry, to pressure Israel to unilaterally cease settlement activity on the West Bank, in advance of peace negotations. Ben Smith:

Now that the (settlement) moratorium has expired, the Obama administration has completed a subtle tilt toward Israel's point of view. The problem is no longer Israel's actions: It's the Palestinian insistence that one issue - settlements - be resolved before talks can begin.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now feeling some of the heat reserved last year for Netanyahu, and facing the prospect that if he fulfills his promise to withdraw from talks, he will bear the full blame for their collapse...

The shift is the subject of quiet self-congratulations among hawkish Israelis and their American allies. After the difficult start of his relationship with Obama and his humiliation at the hands of Clinton's, Netanyahu sought to give Obama one thing he wanted: An absolute promise to being peace talks.
AIPAC has won. J Street has lost.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/j-street-loses/63670/